Fasting can be really hard to do. Hopefully, most of us have not given up by the Friday after Ash Wednesday. Do not despair if you have. Here are some tips for fasting that may help. Most of these I mentioned in my homily on Ash Wednesday, but it is good to have them written down. …
- Do Not despair when you forget; just offer what you can when you remember
- Don’t choose something that is bad for your health. If you are diabetic, do not fast on bread and water alone. …
- You can choose to give up something (food) or to add something (prayer).
- Choose something you can do, and then build up from there. Choosing to do something too big for you to do can lead to despair when you do not do it. Then the devil comes in and convinces you not to do any fasting at all. Better to do a little fasting than none at all. Start small, then evaluate how you are doing and add a little more as you go.
- Do not look for a way out of it, but challenge yourself to grow in fasting.
- If you already have taken more than you can do, it is okay to reduce your fasting to something that can be done. Then maybe later you can build it up again.
- Realize fasting is a spiritual act, not dieting. So often we just pay attention to the physical actions and forget it is to have a spiritual effect in our lives. Fasting helps us deepen our relationship with Jesus.
- Because fasting is at its core a spiritual act, prayer is one of the most important things you can do while fasting. I suggest at minimum say the Memorare once or the Glory Be three times when you get up in the morning and when you go to bed. When you fast, you are giving something to Jesus. Approach your prayer in that way.
- What seems small to one person may be big to another. Fasting is supposed to hurt a little. For some people, denying themselves sugar can be hard. For others, it might be playing video games.
These are some tips in fasting. I also wanted to reiterate some things Deacon Paul Ranney said last weekend. The benefits we get out of fasting are great graces. We come closer to Jesus and we gain self-control. It gives us the opportunity to think of others first and grow in humility. We start to grow in wisdom and can discern God’s will for us in a clearer way. Peace becomes the norm in their soul. Imagine that! Fasting is actually a means to attain happiness.